It’s been another amazing year of music, the E1MA team have chosen the albums they’ve loved the most.
George – Melt Away by Jadu Heart
So I had a think, and it was a hard decision as a lot of new music to wrap my ears around this year – but I keep coming back to this one album again and again since its release in August, and it’s the one that I probably enjoy most on the whole over the countless others so, my album of the year is Melt Away by Jadu Heart.
I first discovered them a couple of years ago when they released “I’m a Kid” which I think was probably one of my top tracks of 2017, and granted – they did do that annoying thing where they just whacked all their best tunes of the past few years on the album when it eventually came out, so I had already heard a fair few when it was released earlier in the year.
However I don’t think that takes away from that fact that it’s a stunning piece of work. Their tracks are the perfect mix of emotive yet upbeat – and they’re filled with reverbed guitar sounds and synth galore which is pretty much my whole music taste lol. Pitchfork describes their sound as borderless electronica which I think pretty much nails it, I’d describe it as a kind of chilled out psych-pop/electro.
Their lyrics can be a bit ??? But I’ve never really been one to listen intently to lyrics, and their melodies are spot on in my eyes and always make me get up in my feelings so that must count for something right? Their waves of musical bliss won’t be leaving my ears any time soon.
Ben – Nothing Great About Britain by slowthai
The first time I heard slowthai I disliked him. Now I love him. His music is very much like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it.
This album arrived at an important time. With Brexit constantly making the world news, the Northampton-born upstart explores what it means to be British. It’s a welcome change from the London-centric perspective that many UK rappers adopt. Slowthai speaks for the regular Brits who live in the forgotten mining towns of yesteryear.
What I love about slowthai is that he is totally himself. The way he delivers lyrics is raw and gritty but his wordplay is excellent. Very much reminiscent of Dizzee Rascal’s iconic 2003 debut album “Boy In Da Corner”.
The album straddles so many genres – UK Rap, Grime, Punk Rock – slowthai is remarkably adaptable. The featuring artists (Mura Masa, Skepta and Jaykae) add their own flair. It never feels as though slowthai put them on the album for “name-recognition” purposes. A special mention goes to the producers on the album – the razor-sharp instrumentals play the perfect backdrop to slowthai’s lyrics.
Joey – SOLACE by RÜFÜS DU SOL
Rufus Du Sol are an Aussie electronic trio that now live in LA. They they released their third album last year, ‘Solace’. Inspired by the ambient electro soundscapes of Jon Hopkins and Brian Eno, it was nominated for the Grammy award ‘Best Dance/ Electronic album’ last month.
Following this album, they released ‘Solace: remixed’, this year – my album of the year. It is always a risk to release a remixed version of your own album and trust other musical artists with your work, but this is a great example of what a remix album should be. They have carefully selected artists in the dance scene that repurposes the album in an entirely new light. Artists from Audiofly, Icarus, Eelke Kliejn to Hot Since 82 really manage to capture the essence of their own style through the tracks.
As an added extra love of the trio – for some unknown reason – #innerbloomhowl became a social media phenomenon with people playing one of their old classics ‘Innerbloom’, to dogs, and the dogs howling along. Turns out that if you ask any dog what their favorite album of the year was, they would probably agree with me.
Joel – Hoodies All Summer by Kano
In a year where a lot of leading UK artists released significant rap projects, Hoodies All Summer by Kano is the one that stands out for me. Three years after his last album, which I also loved, it felt about time for Kano to make a return and what he provided is a raw, politically charged and culturally significant body of work that will no doubt stand the test of time.
With a range of interesting sampling and some choice features from the likes of Popcaan, Ghetts and former N.A.S.T.Y Crew co-member D Double E, the body of work as a whole is really special. I also saw him perform it live in Brighton in October and it was a truly faultless performance. Perhaps he is known more this year for the new Netflix-backed series of Top Boy, but for me his best contribution was this album.